Hey y’all. Gio here.
As you all know (or are about too) I teach classes when we’re not out touring. I’m up at 6am. I am also the adoring father of the amazing Stella Gene (photo reference here:)
I mention these things because my sleeping world is very different from the sleeping world of other musicians you may know or have heard about… or go on tour with. I hear about sleeping in, staying up all night – I read about these things in fairy tales and tall tales. These are strange and mythical stories to me… most times. If there is music to be played, though, then … well, then I am IN. So long as I’m playing or singing time has no meaning. I’d rather play music than sleep.
When we rolled into the Oregon Country Faire it was already 10:30pm, and I’d had a week of early morning Stella wake-ups. By all rights, I should have been miles deep into the land of Nod, chasing ‘ol Sandman around and demanding more than my fair share. But no!! We got in, grabbed the instruments and hit the winding paths and trails of the Faire. (First we caught a bit of a Grateful Dead 1972 set that was showing on a giant screen on the Main Stage… maybe more on that later?) I can’t really describe all of the fairies, wizards, gnomes, polka-dot jumpsuit revelers, 12 foot tall coyotes, Golden Girls and other magical and fantastical creatures that we passed in our travels – you really do have to be a live witness. We found little nooks and crannys, and belted out songs, and had little crowds of dancers and stompers, and moved our little hootenanny around the Faire.
When we had blasted out our voices and run out of songs, our personal jam was over, and it was on to other jams. Quite literally, you cannot walk 100 yards through OCF without finding a group of musicians playing. A lot of these people have come up year after year and have their places and jam-partner reunions, a lot of the players are musicians from the official band schedule. These are some high quality jams, folks!
We stopped around a campfire encicled by a ring of kickass latin drumming. I jumped in with the bass, Ryan jumped in with the guitar, some other guy had his nylon-string, and we rooocccckkkkked it out. People danced. We made friends, played soe super groovy grooves. When that was done, it was back to camp, where the campfire jam was in full effect. Music, music, music. The next night – after rocking out to the midnight, random, middle of a vast parking lot, almost secret set of Brokedown in Bakersfield, I rolled out and found a killer traditional bluegrass jam. Learned some tunes, hollered some harmonies.. had a real good time.
I can’t even begin to describe the sight and scenes that are happening every step of the way as one is cruising from parking-lot sets to bluegrass jams, or from trail busking to the campfire… it is amazing and mind-blowing and incredible and must be seen to be fully grokked. I just wanted to try and paint a picture of what a musical playground the Oregon Country Faire can be. At any point of any day or night, you can find good players to play with and make some very fun music. It was awesome.
The fact that the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had could be purchased at a booth at OCF is a very different story… but no less of a reason for going back.
More remembrances and tales as they come back. For now, it’s off to a library or some such. More work to do… and you can only get so much coffee shop loitering time out of a double espresso.